The show goes on: The world´s top Tornado and 49er crews are heading for Schwerin in Germany for the second Tour stop of the new 2003 Volvo Champions Race.
Rodion LUKA/George LEONCHUK, (UKR) the leaders of the latest ISAF World Ranking List (49er) and Olympic Tornado Silver Medallist Darren BUNDOCK together with Glen ASHBY (AUS) are the number one ranked teams for this spectacular four day event on the Lake of Schwerin.
15 crews in each class are competing in the second stop of this new super series that offers an exciting and innovative mixture of high performance Sailing. Top level event. Racing will take place directly in front of the beach with the rounding marks not more than 10, 20 metres away from the spectators. Live commentary will guide the spectators through the programme.
The event organisers have established a new system to create an even better visibility by creating special symbols for the mainsails of some of the best known competitors. Coloured triangles, squares or spots will point to the youngest, the oldest and the world´s top team. There will also be symbols for the German shooting stars of this season and the World's top ranked German crew.
Event organiser Dirk NEUMANN commented, "we wanted to create a new attractive format for Olympic sailing. With the success of the first stop in Constance in our minds we have developed this event even further. It is radical in some areas and very attractive to spectators and partners. That's what we are aiming at: To bring sailing to a much broader public."
The concept has convinced the sailors as well. Three times World Champion in the Tornado Roland GÄBLER,(GER) commented "it´s a cool event that shows the right way sailing has to take into the future. It's an unbelievably good feeling for us to see the fans so close to us and hear their cheers. The action is so close It's like the crowd is sitting in the same boat with you. They can almost touch us. Finally sailing is where it deserves to be."
GÄBLER has hit the headlines in Germany today by announcing that he split from his crew Andreas JOHN. "But,"
says the Olympic Bronze Medallist, "that
does not change my goal to win another medal at the next Olympics in Athens."
GÄBLER is giving himself a month to find a new crew to stay on course to fulfil his latest dream.
Another famous name in yachting to compete in Schwerin is Australia's multiple World Champion and Volvo Ocean Race sailor Chris NICHOLSEN who has rounded the world onboard Grant DALTON's Amer Sports One as helmsman and trimmer. Says NICHOLSON, "I am here because I like fun events like these and it gives us a good opportunity for more training. I think the Volvo Champions Race is a great idea."
Whilst today and Friday morning are reserved for free training and some show races, the Volvo Champions Race will start Friday afternoon. The 15 crews in each class are fighting for an event prize purse of 13.000 Euro. Another 35.000 Euro will be split amongst the top crews after the third stop in Travemünde, Germany form 9 - 12 October.
The Volvo Champions Race will finish on Sunday with the prize giving ceremony. Thomas HANEL, member of the board of Volvo Car Germany said "the Volvo Champions Race has had a dream start in Constance. We will not stop working hard to develop this event further and further. The Volvo Champions Race already represents a brand in sailing. Now we look forward to some spectacular racing and a sailing festival in Schwerin."
Competitors List by Starting Numbers
(In order of current positions in ISAF World Ranking List)
1 Darren BUNDOCK/Glenn ASHBY (AUS)
2 Martin STRANDBERG/Christian MATTSON (SWE)
3 Robert WILSON/Martin SELLARS (GBR)
4 Robbie DANIEL/Anders STRUME (USA)
5 Diego CAYOLLA/Nuno BARRETO (POR)
6 Peder RONHOLT/Sören JÖRGENSEN (DEN)
7 Helge and Christian SACH (Zarnekau/GER)
8 Lars BÄHR/Dino GROBE (GER)
9 Erik HOLDEN/Mark COAKLEY (CAN)
10 Roland GÄBLER/Gunnar STRUCKMANN (GER)
11 Johannes POLGAR/Will HOWDEN (GER/GBR)
12 Tino und NIKO MITTELMEIER (GER)
13 Patrick EGGER/Kristof KOCH (GER)
14 Eckart and Gyde KAPHENGST (GER)
15 Christina LOWEG/Julia NOWAK (GER)
1 Rodion LUKA/George LEONCHUK (UKR)
2 Peter and Sören HANSEN (DEN)
3 Marcus BAUR/Max GROY (GER)
4 Markus STEEG/Moritz DEML (GER)
5 Chris NICHOLSON/Gary BOYD (AUS)
6 Gabriel WICKE/Wolf JESCHONNEK (GER)
7 Nico DELLE-KARTH/Nikolaus RESCH (AUT)
8 Martin KIRKETERP/Dion VALENTE (DEN)
9 John HARRIS/Euan Mcnicol (AUS)
10 Jan-Peter and Hannes PECKOLT (GER)
11 Ronald RENSCH/Torsten HAVERLAND (GER)
12 Mike BASSETT/Kurt RIECHELMANN (NZL)
13 Felix OEHME/Julien KLEINER (GER)
14 Martin GERHARD/Fionn ERDMANN (GER)
15 Frank and Peter MÜHLHAUSER (GER)